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NEWS RELEASE September 30, 2008

School Lunch Report Finds Many Schools Battling Rising Costs to Serve Healthful Foods

Nutrition Report Card Awards High Grades to Schools in Omaha, Montgomery County, Maryland, and Pinellas County in Florida; Two Louisiana School Distri

WASHINGTON—As children head back to school amid concerns about rising food costs and an epidemic of childhood obesity, a new report issued by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) reveals that school districts in Florida, Nebraska, Virginia, and elsewhere have found cost-effective ways to improve the healthfulness of school lunches. But PCRM’s 2008 School Lunch Report Card finds that other schools, including districts in Louisiana, Nevada, and Texas, are offering menus light on fruits and vegetables and heavy on fried chicken, hot dogs, and other high-fat, high-cholesterol items.

“Despite skyrocketing food costs, many schools are finding creative ways to serve more fruits, vegetables, and low-fat meatless meals that help students stay trim and healthy,” says Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., PCRM’s senior nutritionist. “But too many school districts are still dishing up greasy cheeseburgers and other high-fat foods that contribute to our country’s disturbingly high rates of childhood obesity and diabetes.”  

For the 2008 School Lunch Report Card, PCRM dietitians analyzed the elementary school meals available at 20 districts participating in the National School Lunch Program. Seventy-five percent of schools evaluated in PCRM’s report serve at least one healthful vegetarian entrée every day. This year’s Most Improved Award goes to Omaha Public Schools, which improved its school lunch score by 30 points from last year—rising from a D to an A.

School District

Score

Grade

Montgomery County Public Schools (Md.)

98

A

Pinellas County Schools (Fla.)

98

A

Omaha Public Schools (Neb.)

96

A

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (N.C.)

92

A-

Fairfax County Public Schools (Va.)

92

A-

Broward County Public Schools (Fla.)

91

A-

Santa Ana Unified School District (Calif.)

91

A-

Prince William County Public Schools (Va.)

89

B+

San Diego Unified School District (Calif.)

87

B+

Volusia County Schools (Fla.)

85

B

Anchorage School District (Alaska)

79

C+

Oakland Unified School District (Calif.)

79

C+

San Francisco Unified School District (Calif.)

75

C

Sacramento City Unified School District (Calif.)

74

C

Washoe County School District (Nev.)

66

D

Garland Independent School District (Texas)

65

D

Anamoose Public School (N.D.)

61

D-

Buffalo City Schools (N.Y.)

61

D-

Caddo Public Schools District (La.)

53

F

East Baton Rouge Parish Schools (La.)

42

F

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.



Media Contact:
Jeanne Stuart McVey
202-527-7316
jeannem@pcrm.org

Susan Levin, M.S., R.D
Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.

Related Link:
HealthySchoolLunches.org

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Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
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Phone: 202-686-2210     Email: pcrm@pcrm.org